Operations Come at a Price

There is a great value and cost associated with placing a fire department in service for eleven days at the Missouri State Fair each year. We went into service at 18:00 on August 11, and finished our official duties at 18:00 on August 22. The FFAM held a meeting on August 8th, and many personnel attended. Personnel started after the meeting with preparations for the fair. Several traveled to the donating departments to pick up equipment and supplies for the fair. The kitchen staff had been picking up donations as well as shopping for the supplies the crews for the eleven days we staffed the fairgrounds. I will not have any of these expenses added in but we all realize that the department would not exist without all of the supporting personnel to get ready. We again provided mutual aid with an engine this year to Pettis County FPD to a chicken barn fire before the fair opened.

We manned three engines and squads for the firefighting equipment along with a duty chief vehicle for the fair. We manned five ambulances along with three rapid response UTV’s with paramedics and equipment for the medical response along with staffing the first aid in our building for any minor walk-in medical treatment. We had three UTV’s available to shuffle personnel and give courtesy rides to families injured and needing assistance back to their cars or the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). DMAT’s assistance on the fairgrounds helps to alleviate the medical care rush at the Bothwell Hospital Emergency Department and is at no cost for the patients.

I used the FEMA allowance for the fire and EMS equipment only for the 288 hours we were in service for a total of $287,893. That is with no allowance for the equipment on the trucks or supplies in the ambulances required to be in service and available. We used the median wage for the state of Missouri for the staffing costs and hours worked for a total of $333,606. There are major equipment costs to outfit an engine with equipment as there are for an ambulance with cots and medical supplies and equipment. I would estimate doubling what we have for equipment and personnel would get us in the ballpark to operate. That would put us at $1,242,998. We have a lot of people that put in many hours during the year preparing for the fair as volunteers. They make this department ready to function and do a tremendous service for the State of Missouri. The FFAM is proud to sponsor the department and support us each year, showing what mutual aid and the brotherhood of firefighters can accomplish. Thousands of fairgoers each year for the last 59 depend on us when the call comes in. We have been able to answer with all of our groups involved including the Missouri State Fair Commissioners and Missouri State Fair staff’s support.

During the fair we responded to 117 medical calls, 5 fire calls, 27 event standbys, 4 calls as other, and we assisted with 59 courtesy car rides for a total of 212 runs. A great year at the Fair and looking forward to 2022 for our 60th Anniversary of providing fire and EMS for the Missouri State Fair. Please consider joining us next year and thanks to all that make this happen each year.